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Is the Mistletoe a sign?

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

Did I hear it right? The news report, as I heard it, was saying that less COVID cases have been reported in Wuhan. Now, we all know that Wuhan is the city in China where the disease was supposed to have originated. So, how come it has less cases? Have the people there discovered some native plants or substances that they have kept secret from the world? Or, perhaps, those stricken did not all report their conditions to the authorities? Well, all that is now beyond our control, but let us just be happy that vaccines have been introduced to protect us from infection.

***

But it was amusing to hear that in Hungary, large wedding parties are now allowed if at least 50 percent of the participants have been vaccinated! Does that qualify for “herd immunity”? I hear that some weddings in our country have either been postponed, or attendants minimized, to prevent infections. I also heard that in one wedding, a member of the entourage was discovered to be positive for the disease, after the ceremony! But I don’t think there were any repercussions, i.e., nobody else was infected. I guess they were sprinkled with holy water and the proper prayers recited over them!

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Is it true, though, that there are many cases of COVID in Mindanao because a lot of people are disregarding simple protocols, like wearing of masks and shields, all the time? People who refuse, or disregarded such simple protective gear, must be prosecuted for the harm they cause others. This is not just a simple case of “flu” as some people thought it to be earlier, this is a dangerous ailment, and a highly contagious one, too. If you are not concerned for yourself, think of others, even your own folks!

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Yesterday, I heard on TV Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque saying that those who have not been vaccinated cannot return to work. Was he referring only to government workers, or to all employees, private and public? But I think there is good reason in his declaration, those still unvaccinated continue to be threats to others, especially in workplaces, so it is better to keep them away to protect their officemates. And not only their co-workers, even the people who ride in the same buses, jeepneys, or other modes of transport, could be susceptible, too. But is that already an official “protocol”?

***

What is the matter with the American government? After what appears to be a spate of killings in their country through the use of guns, it has reported a “record high” purchase of guns in the past months! Has the numerous cases of shootings been the reason for the increase in gun sales, with people wanting to be armed so they can shoot back? At least in our country, selling and licensing of firepower are strictly controlled and supervised, but despite that, a lot seem to be able to hedge the rules and are able to acquire them. But then, when they get into trouble through such firearms, they have a lot to answer for to the law.

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And what about the much awaited Olympic Games? There are now less than 50 days before its supposed opening, but while organizers and athletes are said to be still hoping for it, they are said to be “in a bubble” until now, which I take to mean that nobody is sure yet. What a pity if it is cancelled, but a greater pity if it goes through and several participants get infected. By the way, haven’t they thought of enforcing vaccinations long before the scheduled start of the games? That could have lessened, if not entirely protected all participants from infection. But we concede that their leaders know better than we do.

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By the way, American President Joe Biden’s goal is to have 70 percent of adults in the U.S. vaccinated by July 4. Aha! So he wants to declare independence against the virus at the same date as their country’s day. Not a bad target, but is it attainable? Let’s wish him luck. For one thing, we have “kababayans” there who will benefit from such a plan. By the way, what about our own president? Has he also set a mark for ensuring the immunization of our people? His spokesman has spoken, but it is not the same as hearing it “from the horse’s mouth,” in a manner of speaking.

***

Is this an augury of a Merry Christmas for Filipinos? A new species of the Christmas plant, the Mistletoe, has been discovered in Davao. Now, this plant seems to be the very symbol of Christmas, and a new variety could be interpreted as a sign of a happy and blessed celebration of the holidays, despite the pandemic and other problems we are coping with these days. I take it to mean that we will have a Merry Christmas again this year!*

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